Exploring the Shipwrecks of Vancouver Island

British Columbia has been cited as one of the most beautiful places on the planet in terms of natural beauty.  It attracts visitors of all types with the abundant wildlife, lush rain forests, exciting snow-capped mountains, wonderful beaches, and scenic rivers.

That is all above the ground, but another world exists below the surface of British Columbia’s magnificent waters. Scuba divers in their thousands visit this subterranean haven in particular to study the historic shipwrecks that can be found all over the Province.

Maritime History

The maritime history of British Columbia is rich and provides one of the biggest underwater draws on the planet.  Virtually anywhere along the coastline of this great area can be found historical shipwrecks, and in particular the Strait of Georgia is particularly popular at the moment, which separates Vancouver Island from the mainland of Canada.

The Wreck of the Capilano

The Capilano was a hundred and twenty-two foot steamship that was sailing through the Malaspina Strait in 1915 when it struck a submerged object. The captain had opted to follow this route because the smoke from the logging stations elsewhere had made visibility very difficult.

The captain turned the vessel towards Vanada, which was a small port just two miles away. After a quick examination of the ship the captain decided to carry on their voyage, and that is when disaster struck as the ship was already listing due to water flooding into the holds.

The ship plunged to the depths early in the morning, and for sixty years it lay there undiscovered as nobody knew its exact location. Now it is one of the most famous wrecks to dive as it sits perfectly upright and is almost intact.

The Wreck of the Gulf Stream

In 1947 the Gulf Stream was sailing from Vancouver with fifteen passengers and twenty-one crew on board. With no apparent reason during the voyage the ship directly hit Dinner Rock, which is located between the mainland and Savary Island.

The ship was traveling so fast that it mounted the rock at about a third of its length. She then simply tipped over to a 45 degree angle and the stern of the ship was forced beneath the surface of the water.

Unfortunately, not everybody escaped the stranded ship as only a small fishing vessel came to their aid. Five passengers were missing. A few days later the ship slid off the rock and plunged into deep water. Many salvage workers and divers have subsequently enjoyed diving the Gulf Stream but the wooden decks and the superstructure are all but gone.

Other great wrecks that are popular for diving in these treacherous waters include the Sceptre Squamish, which met her end in 1990. It was not a glamorous ship by any stretch of the imagination as it was just a barge, but today it proves to be a challenge to dive.

This is because as it is a barge there are few distinguishing structures, and so it is quite easily to lose your bearings under the water. There are many other stunning dives in the waters of British Columbia, and some of the wrecks have highly interesting stories to discover and learn about. 


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